City Creatures Book Released: Read My Essay on Skunks!

I’m delighted that a project I’ve been lucky to be a part of for the past few years has finally come to fruition! City Creatures (University of Chicago Press) is a collection of essays, stories, poems, art, and wonderful thoughts about nature and Chicago, and the multiple species that inhabit it. We are one of many. A clip from the book’s overview:

We usually think of cities as the domain of humans—but we are just one of thousands of species that call the urban landscape home. Chicago residents knowingly move among familiar creatures like squirrels, pigeons, and dogs, but might be surprised to learn about all the leafhoppers and water bears, black-crowned night herons and bison, beavers and massasauga rattlesnakes that are living alongside them. (link)

The related art exhibit kicks off this weekend at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum, and both exhibit and book just got a great review from the Trib (link).

My essay is the one called “The Skunks of my Re-Rooting” and it’s as skunky as you’d expect. Let me convince you that Chicago is really all about skunks, from a parallel migration of skunks and humans to the area tens of thousands of years ago, to the smell of “skunky” garlic giving the modern city it’s name, to the skunks residing between streets and trees and graves on the NW side where I grew up. A little silly, a little historical (even Darwin makes an appearance), a little morbid — how can you go wrong?